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Vitamin poisoning, hypervitaminosis or vitamin overdose refers to a condition of high storage levels of vitamins, which can lead to toxic symptoms. The medical names of the different conditions are derived from the vitamin involved: an excess of vitamin A, for example, is called "hypervitaminosis A."
With few exceptions, like some vitamins from B complex, hypervitaminosis usually occurs more with fat-soluble vitamins, which remain more time in the body and are harder to be excreted than water soluble vitamins.
High dosage vitamin A; high dosage, slow release vitamin B3; and very high dosage vitamin B6 alone (i.e. without vitamin B complex) are sometimes associated with vitamin side effects that usually rapidly cease with supplement reduction or cessation.
Vitamin C has a brief, pronounced laxative effect when taken in large amounts, typically in the range of 5-20 grams per day in divided doses for a person in normal "good health," although seriously ill people, may take 100-200 grams without inducing vitamin poisoning.
High doses of mineral supplements can also lead to side effects and toxicity. Mineral-supplement poisoning does occur occasionally due to excessive and unusual intake of iron-containing supplements, including some multivitamins, but is not common.
The Dietary Reference Intake recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture define a "tolerable upper intake level" for most vitamins.
Comparative safety statistics
Death by vitamin poisoning appears to be quite uncommon in the US, typically none in a given year. Before 1998, several deaths per year were associated with pharmaceutical iron-containing supplements, especially brightly-colored, sugar-coated, high-potency iron supplements, and most deaths were children. Unit packaging restrictions on supplements with more than 30 mg of iron have since reduced deaths to 0 or 1 per year. These statistics compare with 59 deaths due to aspirin poisoning in 2003  and 147 deaths associated with acetaminophen-containing products in 2003.
- Dietary supplements
- Drug overdose
- Hypervitaminosis A
- Hypervitaminosis D
- Hypervitaminosis E
- Megavtimin therapy
- Orthorexia nervosa
- Vitamin C, Titrating To Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia, And Acute Induced Scurvy Robert F. Cathcart, III, M.D. 1994
- Tenenbein M (2005). Unit-dose packaging of iron supplements and reduction of iron poisoning in young children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 159 (6): 557–60.
- Watson WA, Litovitz TL, Klein-Schwartz W, et al (2004). 2003 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. Am J Emerg Med 22 (5): 335–404.
Nutritional pathology (E40-68, 260-269)
Obesity - Hypervitaminosis A - Hypervitaminosis D
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